This time was supposed to be different. The team that lost to Oklahoma last season 55-17 was supposed to be long gone.
But it was not different. It was worse.
The Sooners dominated the game and they defeated the Longhorns for the third year in a row, 63-21, at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.
The defense struggled with tackling and giving up big plays while the offense had only 289 total yards and did not find the end zone until there was less than five minutes left.
Texas’ defense gave up plays of 14, 11, 12 and 10 yards on the Sooners’ first possession.
These were not just Red River Shootout jitters. These deficiencies and mistakes made on defense continued throughout the game. Quarterback Blake Bell rushed eight yards for a touchdown to end the first drive.
Quandre Diggs returned the extra point for a two-point conversion, the only points the Longhorns would put on the board until the third quarter.
Damien Williams’ 95-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter was the longest in Red River Rivalry history.
The Longhorns’ struggles with stopping the run continued. Jordan Hicks’ absence was apparent throughout the game and, once again, the inexperienced linebackers struggled. Texas gave up 343 rushing yards and 334 passing yards.
“It just came down to that we couldn’t stop the run,” said senior defensive end Alex Okafor. “If you can’t stop the run, things get ugly really quick. It’s been like that all season. We have to find a way to stop them.”
Landry Jones’ pass to Trey Millard gave the Sooners a 73-yard gain, putting them at the Texas 4-yard line. Bell scored his third touchdown of the game to make the score 27-2.
The Texas offense showed some life in the second quarter when David Ash threw a 31-yard pass to Mike Davis, the Longhorns’ first first down of the game. But Ash was picked off on the next play.
“This was the best defense we’ve played,” head coach Mack Brown said. “But they outplayed us by far today. I’m very disappointed offensively across the board.”
Running back Joe Bergeron was tackled in the Texas end zone later in the second quarter, adding two points to Oklahoma’s growing lead. Bell capped the first-half scoring with a one-yard touchdown run, giving the Sooners a 36-2 halftime lead.
Texas was outgained, 407-65, in the first half while giving up 206 rushing yards in the first two quarters and running for just two yards.
“It’s kind of shocking that we weren’t moving the ball,” said freshman running back Johnathan Gray. “That’s what we work hard on in practice.”
Cornerback Carrington Byndom’s 28-yard interception return for a touchdown started the scoring in the first half, trimming the Sooners’ lead to 36-8.
Ash had his third turnover of the game when he fumbled the ball in the third quarter. He only had three turnovers all season coming into the matchup.
With 1:25 left in the third quarter, Jones threw a 25-yard touchdown to Millard. later threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Justin Brown in the fourth quarter before Brennan
Clay’s 1-yard rushing touchdown gave the Sooners a commanding 63-15 lead.
David Ash left the game with a left wrist injury in the fourth quarter while Case McCoy stepped in and threw two touchdown passes. The first was a 44-yard pass to Mike Davis and the other a 19-yard pass to John Harris in the final play of the game, making the final score 63-21.
As the game went on, what was once a sea of orange on Texas’ side of the stadium became scattered spots of disappointed fans watching their team lose, once again, to the Sooners.
“It’s just unacceptable for Texas to lose like that to Oklahoma,” Brown said.